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Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Jet Li
Nathan Jones

Masato Harada
Shido Nakamura.
Ronny Yu.
Chris Chow.
Running Time
104 minutes

4 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
2 Star Empire Rating
Intern, The
3 Star Empire Rating
3 Star Empire Rating

5 Star Empire Rating
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
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Song Of The Sea
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Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Revenge leads to, unsurprisingly, much fighting.

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After his family is murdered, Yuanjia (Li) flees to solitude. He is tempted back to the world to partake in a WWE style four-way tournamant with the world's greatest fighters.


Based on the story of real-life Chinese hero Huo Yuan Jia (1868-1910), Fearless promised world-renowned martial artist Jet Li his greatest role, and not before time: the 43-year-old Hero star has said this will be his final martial arts film.

Perhaps, seeing echoes of his own life in that of Yuan Jia, a teenage champion who brought martial arts to the masses, Li developed the character himself over ten years. William Kong, producer of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero, has assembled an impressive supporting cast of world-class fighters, and wisely hired Yuen Wo-Ping, the legendary choreographer of the Matrix and Kill Bill movies.

Where Fearless comes a cropper is in the choice of Ronny Yu as director: an epic tale such as this requires an Ang Lee or a Zhang Yimou to handle the emotional highs and lows as deftly as the fight sequences, not the man behind Bride Of Chucky and Freddy Vs. Jason. Li scrapes by on his meagre acting talent, outclassed by actors like Yong Dong and the Japanese Shido Nakamura, making this a sadly missed opportunity which pales beside Li’s earlier (and similar) Once Upon A Time In China.

Despite impressive, CG-light action sequences and an absorbing story which certainly stands another re-telling, director Ronny Yu barely elevates this above the level of a direct-to-video fightfest. Hero or Crouching Tiger it ain't.

Reviewed by Genevieve Harrison

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Fearless
Empire Star Rating

Fearless Review

Fearless is a brilliantly choreographed, beautifully filmed endcap to Li's quarter decade of epic martial arts glory. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 10:20, 11 April 2012 | Report This Post

Just bought this today..

...will watch it later and post my review. Can I just say that Hero & Crouching Tiger were both shite, nice to look at, but shite. So using them as a measuring stick for this is stupid. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tallaght24 at 12:59, 28 February 2008 | Report This Post

Fearless Highlights include a well-staged scrap on an elevated platform and a destructive bout in a Chinese restaurant, though enjoy them while you can; the sluggish second half, in which Li finds inner peace, is an extended wallow in sappy sentiment. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 18:34, 05 March 2007 | Report This Post

Empire got it wrong

Sorry Empire but you definitely got this review wrong. This is an excellent film. First class martial arts plus a very well done revenge story. Jet Li may not be the best actor but he's a lot better than Sly, Arnie or even Bruce and he wipes the floor with them when it comes to the physical side. Hero is a better looking film I admit but this is just as good story-wise.5/5 from me. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hammerfan at 23:28, 17 February 2007 | Report This Post

Empire, You got this wrong

This film is great. If you downgrade a martial arts action film because of bad storyline or plot then you need to rethink yor're startegy. Great fight scenes. Especially the one in the resteraunt. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cerberous at 17:30, 26 December 2006 | Report This Post

oops,sorry,I meant to give it 3 stars nor 4 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rams at 00:01, 31 October 2006 | Report This Post

oops,sorry,I meant to give it 3 stars nor 4 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rams at 00:00, 31 October 2006 | Report This Post

Missed oportunity.There are some great scenes,but after a good first act the film speeds away without giving proper time for character interaction and development,you can barely spot old foes that join Li's school but you don't know why.His motivations and progressive Philosofies are never trully explained,we know he has guilt but that's all. I heard this was supposed to be a longer film but it was cut by fear of doing less well in the box-office;I mean,they cut Michelle Yeoh!Who does that?Reall... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rams at 23:59, 30 October 2006 | Report This Post

Fearless - 2 stars, Pirates 2 - 3 stars??!!

Pirates 2 was one of the biggest disapointments in recent history. This may be partly due to the fact that the cinema was packed and the fim is still showing on twice as many screens as any other film (inc. the excellent superman), meaning its raking it in from mostly non-cinema go-ers, and very undeservedly. On the contrary, after reading your review fearless was one of the most suprisingly good and enjoyable films ive seen all year. It achieved exactly what it wanted to do, if not more. I was ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mrossjones at 19:56, 21 July 2006 | Report This Post

best chinese movie after crouching tiger hidden dragon. story is perfect, but acting is not, jet li exaggerate his mimimcs, not a good actor but still i love the movie ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by erdalbibo at 22:29, 18 July 2006 | Report This Post

... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by erdalbibo at 22:25, 18 July 2006 | Report This Post

I'm not a fan of matrial arts BUT

I'm not a fan of matrial arts BUT this was a really good storyline that had me hooked. After a short time didn't even notice subtitles. Think you can tell the quality of a film when the audience react to the action on screen and lots of us were groaning and wincing at the injuries caused. Worth seeing. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by leelou at 09:34, 10 July 2006 | Report This Post


If Fearless is Jet Li's last martial arts film,than it's a good one to end with. Returning to the setting and environment of many of his earlier Hong Kong films like Once Upon A Time In China and Fong Sai Yuk,with Li playing another Chinese folk hero ,it than delivers brutal and realistic fighting with only the odd peice of wirework. Choreographer Yuen Woo Ping shows he is still able to deliver the goods,be it a desperate battle on top of a makeshift tower or an amazingly and bloody duel with sw... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 16:35, 05 July 2006 | Report This Post

RE: two stars? YOU'RE FIRED saw #666699]Fearless (Huo Yuan Jia), the new Jet Li film, at the weekend. It is based on a true story and has some seriously cool fight sequences. I have said it before and I will say it again, in my opinion Jet Li is the personification of martial arts. He is such a complete practitioner. He has technique, power, speed, flexibility, precision, finesse and grace by the bucket load. This is supposed to be his last martial arts epic, but I hope ... More

Posted by anothernewbie at 14:47, 05 July 2006 | Report This Post

two stars? YOU'RE FIRED

Superb, with a perfect balance of fighting and talking. So long Jet Li. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by waffle at 20:18, 03 July 2006 | Report This Post

Fearless is superb. Its completely absorbing with great fight scenes. How can u giv it 2 stars? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Firestarter66 at 19:41, 29 June 2006 | Report This Post

RE: Why the bad review

I really enjoyed this film. Sure, its going to be compared to Crouching Tiger and Hero, etc, and it does have similarities. Jet Li was kick-ass as expected and the fight scenes are superb. If you like the afore- mentioned movies then its a must see. ... More

Posted by Dready at 19:40, 29 June 2006 | Report This Post

Why the bad review

This film is not Hero, Crouching Tiger or Daggers in fact it falls into a different category. It's closest relation is either Fist of Legend or Fong Sai Yuk II. It's a great (if not formulaic) revenge story but is played so beautifully it is far and above a lot of it's rivals in the same class. Jet Li's arrogance at becoming the Master of Huojian (?) is played perfectly as is his relationship with his best friend. He appears as a man who has it all but is surrounded by shallow people who fo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jeebee at 11:43, 28 June 2006 | Report This Post


I saw this today and loved it, wonderfully told story, Jet Li acting very well and kicking ass like few others can. Amazingly done fights all beautifully shot, the restaurant fight being the highlight. A very entertaining movie with believable and interesting characters and a moving ending. A real treat and good to see Jet Li go out with a bang, easily his best movie yet.   5/5   Can't wait for the extended cut ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Godzilla at 20:15, 27 June 2006 | Report This Post


Kick ass! Empire are smoking Crack. Again. ... More

Posted by MoBiUGeArSkIn at 09:33, 27 June 2006 | Report This Post


I thought the film was great...I do think that there were subtleties left unexplained like why his love interest was blind...but I see there is a ended cut in Asia which includes a sub plot involving e Yeoh begs to be seen. Perhaps this version is the i]that people expected. ... More

Posted by nicky1975 at 20:12, 25 June 2006 | Report This Post


Nothing really that special, didn't pull me in like Crocuhing Tiger or Daggers did still, it does have Jet Li. ... More

Posted by lord of the pies at 19:24, 24 June 2006 | Report This Post

RE: WoW about Chinese and Hong Kong action directors and actors gets lost in the translation to U.S. soil, like Americanized Chinese food. Jet Li is one such victim of the journey across the Pacific Ocean, and so, I would say, has Ronnie Yu (all apologies to fans of Vs. Jasonide of Chuckyi]Formula 51, e not). Thankfully, both Li and Yu decided to make a pilgrimage home to kick it old school with ttp:// More

Posted by anothernewbie at 07:11, 22 June 2006 | Report This Post


I loved this movie. and i have to say that people shouldnt judge what the empire reviewers say. its one guys opinion, watch it and make up your own mind. THis movie is at least 3 or 4 stars. Great action sequences, if you liked House of flying daggers, crouching tiger go see this. Its jet li's last film! I loved it. great fight choreography i loved this movie! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by biggzy1991 at 08:41, 20 June 2006 | Report This Post

Having only seen the movie in Chinese, without English subtitles, its difficult to comment on the emotional impact of the dialogue in Fearless. Indeed, in the scenes in which not much was happening, it did seem to drag on somewhat. Where Fearless succeeds though, is in the emotion shown by the characters, in their body-language, their facial expressions (although, perhaps with dialogue a little overly expressed), and the superbly choreographed fight sequences. It may not have the finesse to b... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Andrewlamb at 13:39, 19 June 2006 | Report This Post

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